Author Topic: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?  (Read 27416 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« on: 05/24/2016 10:08 PM »
The financial year 2017 Budget for the US Government contains wording that suggests NASA should target the Moon. Since each president has his own views on missions to the Moon or Mars IMHO there may only about 8 years before this changes again. NASA may get a small budget but a big one is unlikely.

What can we do in these 8 years?

Produce a cargo lander?
Develop a cargo lander by modifying an existing stage?
Develop a cabin with life support for the lander?
Produce a spacesuit?
Develop a habitat?

Develop a spacestation in lunar orbit?
Develop a (reusable) LEO to lunar orbit transit vehicle?

Land solar panels and batteries able to power a Moon base, small rovers, large manned rovers and ISRU equipment.

Several of the above?
« Last Edit: 05/24/2016 10:11 PM by A_M_Swallow »

Offline Lar

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #1 on: 05/24/2016 10:09 PM »
Lander and ISRU is where the big bang is, IMHO. ISRU includes extraction, processing, storage, transfer, all the tech.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #2 on: 05/24/2016 10:13 PM »
Rename SLS and squabble.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #3 on: 05/24/2016 11:48 PM »
A lander and ISRU do seem like viable options within eight years - but so does a habitat if you derive the pressure vessel off current or near-current hardware, such as Bigelow tech, Cygnus, ISS modules, the list of options go on. Space suit is also necessary if you want to use any of the above in a useful manner.

Why not do a commercial competition? You'll see progress within those eight years at the minimum, and even if if every element isn't on schedule, they will be far enough along to make program cancellation extremely difficult.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2016 11:50 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline Lar

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #4 on: 05/25/2016 01:05 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #5 on: 05/25/2016 01:17 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
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Offline Lar

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #6 on: 05/25/2016 01:29 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
We're farther along on landers. Also, private enterprise will deliver landers if there's traffic to be had. :) And I trust NASA to do tech development more than I trust it to do vehicles. (c.f. SLS)

If we do a lander first, with plans for ISRU next and then there are cuts, goodbye ISRU.. .then the worst outcome? we get flags and footprints, again. Been there, done that, we need exploitation, not exploration. And another round of F&F drains popular support.

Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 01:30 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #7 on: 05/25/2016 01:31 AM »
A lot depends on what goal is.
More Apollo missions but a little longer eg 1-2wks operating out of lander or rover. In this case the only things needed are lander and rover.

If manned lunar base is long term goal, then it can begin with a robotic base and ISRU development in next few years. The XPrize landers and rovers would be a great place start, allowing NASA to concentrate on ISRU technology.

The human lander can be NASA developed eg Altair for $Bs if not $10Bs or a commercial lander eg ULA/Masten Xeus using COTS approach. In case of reusable lander, supplier could also be responsible for refueling it eg ULA using its distributed launch system.


Offline nadreck

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #8 on: 05/25/2016 03:15 AM »
Two related ideas:

Of all the current and previous activities going on in commercial space and with national space programs what can be levered to accomplish a worthwhile goal in 8 years?

What goals that we could accomplish in those 8 years leaves the most behind that can be carried on by industry or existing programs when the impetus to switches to a new plan so that it can be levered by some future private or public initiative at the moon?
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline rocx

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #9 on: 05/25/2016 08:06 AM »
Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

Don't forget about Masten, Blue Origin and the lunar X-prize contestants!
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Offline pierre

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #10 on: 05/25/2016 08:31 AM »
Europe has been talking for years now with its international partners (including NASA, Russia and China) about an ISS-like cooperation to build a permanent crewed base on the Moon: http://www.space.com/32695-moon-colony-european-space-agency.html

So the wording in the 2017 budget for NASA may be a consequence of that, among other things, and go beyond the next 8 years.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #11 on: 05/25/2016 10:05 AM »
We will be lucky if even the RPM mission gets completed...
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #12 on: 05/25/2016 01:48 PM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #13 on: 05/25/2016 05:59 PM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.
A self contain lander with battery bank and solar panel sail/mast that can track sun is all you need for a power station. No assembly required. Prime landing sites will have >80% sunlight.
A few kWs would support a couple of exploration rovers and Comms relay rover.



Offline Jim

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #14 on: 05/25/2016 06:03 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 06:03 PM by Jim »

Offline Lar

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #15 on: 05/25/2016 07:13 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.

No, I meant what I said. ULA has been mooting the ACES derived lander for some time now. And I don't mean NASA contracting for, just like Orion, I mean buying landing services. ... so many Kg subjected to no more than X g of acceleration, landed safely within Y meters of point Z.

This being a wishlist I get to wish for whatever I want. :)  Don't bother me with reality, Jim. :)
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #16 on: 05/26/2016 12:24 AM »
One early mission could be to place several tons of solar cells and batteries near one of the poles. They can power rovers, habitats and ISRU equipment that arrives later.

Solar panels are a useful item that can be made quickly, in bulk and relatively cheaply providing an existing design of chip is used. A cargo of solar panels is suitable for the first landing of a lander because if it crashes we simply make some more.

A small rover made be needed to deploy the panels. For short timescales KISS the robot rover.
A self contain lander with battery bank and solar panel sail/mast that can track sun is all you need for a power station. No assembly required. Prime landing sites will have >80% sunlight.
A few kWs would support a couple of exploration rovers and Comms relay rover.


A ULA & Masten Centaur/XEUS may be able to deliver 10 tonnes of payload. We may as well fill up the faring. People can always find use for power - additional rovers can arrive on smaller landers.

ULA shows ACES/XEUS as 15 years away, so under time constraints that becomes a mark 2 lander.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #17 on: 05/26/2016 03:13 AM »
I think habitats are higher TRL than ISRU and there are people making stuff already.. BEAM is on ISS after all (not the same thing, I know) and there's already a proposal solicitation active with several proposers...

So I vote ISRU and lander. Or if I have to pick only one, ISRU. It's the long pole in the tent, technically.

ISRU without a lander? I appreciate the reasoning, and it's good reasoning, but it still seems backward somehow.
We're farther along on landers. Also, private enterprise will deliver landers if there's traffic to be had. :) And I trust NASA to do tech development more than I trust it to do vehicles. (c.f. SLS)

If we do a lander first, with plans for ISRU next and then there are cuts, goodbye ISRU.. .then the worst outcome? we get flags and footprints, again. Been there, done that, we need exploitation, not exploration. And another round of F&F drains popular support.

Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

And yet ULA has an interest in lunar ISRU for propellant depot purposes. The lines blur.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2016 03:14 AM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #18 on: 05/29/2016 10:40 PM »
We can run a COTS-like program for depots and reusable landers.

If we actually start building infrastructure and a sustainable method of engaging the private sector, we'll have finally moved beyond F&F.  ISRU is pretty useless without depot tech.
« Last Edit: 05/29/2016 10:42 PM by AncientU »
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Eight year Moon mission. What can we do?
« Reply #19 on: 05/29/2016 10:57 PM »


Leave landers to ULA and SpaceX.

You mean Boeing, LM, ORB-ATK, NG, Spacex, etc.  And, that is who NASA would contract anyways, just like Orion.

If NASA is contracting just like Orion, eight years will get us zip, zero, nada.  See Orion.
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